U.S. sues Smithfield Foods unit for discrimination

June 28, 2011

The U.S. Justice Department sued a Smithfield Foods Inc unit on Monday, alleging it discriminated against non-U.S. citizens by making them take extra steps to prove their eligibility to work.

The department said its investigation revealed that Smithfield's Farmland Foods required all newly hired non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens at its Monmouth plant in Illinois to present specific and, in some cases, extra work authorization documents beyond those required by federal law.

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to treat all authorized workers in the same during the hiring process, regardless of their citizenship status.

The civil lawsuit against the pork product producer was filed before the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer within the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Smithfield Foods could not be immediately reached for comment.